This post contains affiliate links, and I earn from qualifying purchases.
If you’ve been struggling to find the right curriculum to teach your child to read, this Reading Eggs vs. Hooked on Phonics review can help you decide if one of these options might be right for you and your child.
I understand the frustration that comes along with teaching your child to read. Believe me. Some children catch on and leave you in the dust while others seem to take their own sweet time and surprise you weeks or months later with what you thought they weren’t picking up.
Let’s dive into what these programs are all about. In my experience, one worked better than the other, but I’ve used both in the past so I’m familiar with how they work, so you’ll be able to get a better idea of which might fit with your child’s learning style when we’re done.
Table of Contents
Reading Eggs is an app you can install on your phone that uses phonics to teach your child how to read. The app goes through a series of lessons on letter sounds and how to put them together to form words.
It also includes plenty of puzzles and games and more than 200 activities to get your child excited about reading. There are a few other features, including math lessons and a section that allows your child to create their own story.
Once your child is comfortable reading enough words, they can complete spelling lessons as well. These lessons include short, one syllable words. Your child can also build their own avatar to help customize the app.
Hooked on Phonics is a bit older than Reading Eggs. They’ve been at the reading game for a while now. They first started in 1987, but they grew in popularity in the mid-1990s. They also use phonics to teach letter sounds and how to blend them together.
Hooked on Phonics has done a great job of changing with the times. From reading materials in the mail to CD ROMs to an app on your phone, they currently have everything you need to teach your child to read.
You can download the app to your phone and use the other tools they offer like books and charts in the mail, music, computer games, videos, and flash cards to get your child excited about reading.
Reading Eggs vs Hooked on Phonics: Side By Side Comparison
While both programs use phonics to teach reading, they’re both wildly different. It’s important that we compare the features of these programs face to face to get a better idea of how they differ.
It will become very clear pretty quickly who wins each category and it should give you a better idea of which program is right for you.
When I give my child an app on the phone, I like to know they’re not going to click willy nilly on anything that pops up. For one, it could be dangerous. I don’t know what dark corners of the web it’s leading them to. For another, it could cost me a lot of money.
Not only that, but ads are annoying and distracting. And when my child is trying to learn how to read, that’s the last thing I want and the last thing they need in their face.
Thankfully, neither of these apps have ads. They’re self contained, so once your child is logged in, they’ll stay logged in and they won’t be whisked away to anything else that looks more interesting to them.
There are no links to outside content, no pop ups, no ads, and no way to get away from the activities they’re currently doing. They can safely play in their own area of the app without access to anything they don’t need.
When you’re ready, you can access the parent portion of the app to monitor their progress.
This feature is included in both programs, but in very different ways, so it depends on what you’re looking for. In fact, it’s a very personal preference these days. While brick and mortar bookstores seem to be going by the wayside, many people still prefer they’re physical books to an e-reader.
Reading Eggs leans towards the e-reader crowd with a huge online library of books that your child can read from a variety of genres. There’s biography, action, sports, classics, action, and more.
Hooked on Phonics, on the other hand, sends reading materials in the mail once a month. You get two new books every month with your subscription so your child can look forward to not only receiving physical mail, but reading two brand new books.
While I prefer to have my books in my hand while I read them, I will give the upper hand to Reading Eggs on this one because once a month just isn’t enough for children who tend to pick up on reading more quickly.
They need a wider variety of materials at their disposal when they need it so they don’t get bored. This really helps some children get motivated, and the breadth of subject matter appeals to more children, as well.
Winner: Reading Eggs
The Reading Eggs mobile app needs some work. Not only does their website seem unprofessional, but their mobile app is really hard to navigate and a bit buggy more often than not.
When I first visited their website, I noticed that it was busy and hard to read. I was overwhelmed by the amount of content on the site and how much I had to sort through just to find what I needed.
That idea translates to the app. I was never sure where to click or what to do next. For a busy parent trying to accomplish the overwhelming task of teaching a child to read, it should be short and to the point.
Click here, do this, and you’re done. Unfortunately, it can lead you to believe Reading Eggs doesn’t really know who their target market is. Do they value your time? Do they know what they’re doing? It’s something to think about.
On the other hand, Hooked on Phonics really shines when it comes to their mobile app. It’s easy to subscribe, download, and log in. You can only install it on three devices, which I will say is the one downside.
However, open up any game in the app, and it’s instantly made available offline, so even when you don’t have access to the internet, your child can play that game right where they left off. It makes road trips and the waiting room at the doctor’s office much more bearable.
You can register up to three children on the app and their progress will be synced across every device where the app is installed.
Winner: Hooked on Phonics
Trial and setup
Both programs offer a 30-day trial, which is a fantastic amount of time. With an effective program, your child could be reading well in that amount of time and you wouldn’t even need to pay for the monthly subscription.
However, the Reading Eggs trial is free and the Hooked on Phonics trial is $1. What I will say is that it’s well worth its $1, so I barely consider that a factor. The $1 pays for your first shipment of goodies, like books and a progress chart with reward stickers.
The real difference comes with setup. Because the Reading Eggs app is so difficult to use, it’s rather difficult to set up. Navigating the app to get your child’s profile setup and trying to get them started with their first activity is a real headache.
Just trying to figure out which lesson they’re supposed to start with is a maze. It’s unclear in the jumbled mess of activities which is supposed to be the beginning.
Hooked on Phonics makes it simple. They guide you through the setup process and it might take 5 minutes. The entire app is clean and clear. You always know exactly where you are and where your child should be.
It’s a no brainer to pay $1 for the first 30 days because dedicating just 5 or 10 minutes a day to the app will give you an excellent idea of how your child is responding to this method of teaching.
Besides, if your child is reading in 30 days, you just paid $1 to teach your child to read. You can cancel at any time, no questions asked. You can monitor their progress at all times and you’ll always know how they’re doing.
A free trial is a free trial. No explanation needed. If you’re looking for a way to try something before you buy it, Reading Eggs can give that to you. If you don’t like it, you didn’t pay anything for it.
However, don’t discount the benefit of paying only $1 for a program that’s been around for more than 20 years and has been proven to work. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Winner: Hooked on Phonics
A professional website and app make a huge difference in building your confidence when giving your child a product. While Reading Eggs doesn’t have ads, it didn’t instill confidence right away.
Their website does look overly spammy, which may lead you to believe their app is the same way. It’s kind of unfortunate that they’ve built their website to look that way.
While the app doesn’t have ads, it’s also not super easy to navigate, which can be distracting. Although, as well all know, you can leave it to a kid to figure out how to work technology better than we can.
Hooked on Phonics is a different story. Their website is clean and professional, and so is the app. You get a lot of detail about the product when you read their website, which helps to build your confidence from the very beginning.
There’s no indication that you’ll be annoyed by ads or popups when you download the app, and I confirmed this when I logged in and started my child with the program. He dove right into his first lesson and, despite hating learning to read, begged every minute of every day to “play” his reading games.
Hooked on Phonics is definitely the right solution if you have a child who will blindly click any ad or popup that shows up on the screen. They won’t download or buy any foreign or dangerous material. They won’t even have access to your parent dashboard because it’s password protected.
The trade off is that the app costs money. There are a lot of free apps out there, but they definitely aren’t as comprehensive, so you get what you pay for.
Winner: Hooked on Phonics
Every time your child opens a game on the Hooked on Phonics app, it automatically downloads it so they can play it offline. It saves their progress so they can pick up where they left off, which makes it really convenient when you don’t have internet access.
Even if you’re on the run, your child can still learn. Vacation, at the doctor, or any other time in your busy schedule is no problem for Hooked on Phonics. It gives you uninterrupted progress that makes it a lot easier for your child to keep up.
This feature is unique to Hooked on Phonics and there aren’t any other reading apps that have it. At least not that I know of.
Winner: Hooked on Phonics
Number of profiles and devices allowed
If you have more than one child learning to read at the same time, you need a program that will allow you to track their progress at the same time. Setting up more than one child profile is important, and being able to install it on more than one device can also be critical to their success and your sanity.
Hooked on Phonics places a few more restrictions on you than Reading Eggs does. Hooked on Phonics only allows you to have three child profiles and you can only install the app on up to three devices.
That means you can only track progress for up to three children. If you have more than three children learning to read at the same time, which may be unlikely, Hooked on Phonics may not be right for you.
More likely is that you want to install it on more than three devices at one time. These days, we all have plenty of electronics, and a restriction like this can really get in the way of needing to install an app like this on all of them.
Reading Eggs allows you to set up four child profiles and doesn’t place any restrictions on how many downloads you can have. That’s a nice relief.
Winner: Reading Eggs
Both Reading Eggs and Hooked on Phonics allow each child to create an avatar so they can personalize their own profile. It makes it a lot more fun to use the app, because it makes it feel like their own.
They’ll know which icon to click when they log in and they won’t navigate to the wrong profile by mistake. It helps to engage them in their progress, which can provide a more interactive learning experience.
Engaging user interface
If you have kids, you know they get bored easily. They’re always on to the next thing, without even cleaning up after themselves first. In addition to that, if yours also has some sort of aversion to learning, you’re in for a real treat when it comes time to learn to read.
Thankfully, the Hooked on Phonics app is super easy to use and really engaging for kids. I really don’t know how they did it, but my kid loved it. We tried everything to get that kid to want to read, and finally, all we had to do was give him Hooked on Phonics and he practically begged to read every day.
They use games, puzzles, and other activities to engage kids with plenty of encouragement. Your child will actively see their own progress and be motivated by that.
Reading Eggs is a bit too confusing to feel motivated. The colors are stimulating, but a bit overly so.
Because it’s so hard to navigate and understand where to start, it’s difficult to monitor progress because you really don’t know where you are or what you’ve done.
Winner: Hooked on Phonics
By now, you should have a better idea of what each program is like and which you might like better for your child. They each have their strengths.
Use Reading Eggs if:
- You want to take advantage of a free trial before you buy
- You want a huge library of books at your disposal from a variety of different genres
- You need more than just reading subjects
- You want to install the app on an unlimited number of devices
Check out our comprehensive Reading Eggs review.
Use Hooked on Phonics if:
- You want an app dedicated to phonics and nothing else
- You want offline availability
- You want a clean interface and clear navigation
- You want monthly hard materials in the mail
Check out our comprehensive Hooked on Phonics review.